Flash Fiction Challenge: And Your Little Dog, Too

Calistoga Basket Dog writing prompt photo copyright K. S. Brooks.
Calistoga Basket Dog photo copyright K. S. Brooks. Do not use without attribution.

Every afternoon at three-thirty, Old Mr. Pritchard would lie down for his afternoon nap.

Every afternoon as soon as Mr. Pritchard fell asleep, bratty little Becky Vogel would ride down the street with her little dog, Yappers, in her bicycle basket.

Yappers would bark and bark and bark and bark. It was a horrible, shrill, bone-rattling bark that never failed to spoil Mr. Pritchard’s nap. Oh, how he had come to hate that obnoxious little mutt.

One day, Mr. Pritchard had an idea…

Welcome to the Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge. In 250 words or less, write a story incorporating the elements in the picture and the written prompt above. Do not include the prompt in your entry. The 250 word limit will be strictly enforced.

Please keep language and subject matter to a PG-13 level.

Use the comment section below to submit your entry. Entries will be accepted until Tuesday at 5:00 PM Pacific Time. No political or religious entries, please.

On Tuesday night, judges will select the strongest entries, and on Wednesday afternoon, we will open voting to the public with an online poll so they may choose the winner. Voting will be open until 5:00 PM Thursday.

On Saturday morning, the winner will be recognized as we post the winning entry along with the picture as a feature. Then, at year end, the winners will be featured in an anthology like this one. Best of luck to you all in your writing!

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11 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Challenge: And Your Little Dog, Too”

  1. The old grandfather clock began to chime and Mr. Pritchard’s mouth stretched into smirk. Three-thirty in the afternoon. Normally he’d be napping now, but ever since Becky Vogel moved in with her noisy little Pomeranian, Yappers, he hadn’t had a decent rest. Neither had Casper. That annoyance was about to end.

    “Time to see if our plan is going to work, Casper,” he said, rubbing his hands together. The Samoyed yawned and flopped his tail. “I’m tired too, buddy. Keep your paws crossed that the brat takes the bait.”

    He hobbled over to the window and pulled back the drape just as Becky started to race down the street. Yappers perched in the bicycle basket raising his usual ruckus. Mr. Pritchard cringed. Even Casper whimpered and buried is head under a pillow.

    The bicycle screeched to a halt by the table he’d set up down the block. They stared for a full minute, then Yappers leaped from the basket and started chowing down on the mound of liver kibble. A moment later Becky grabbed cookies in each hand and gobbled so fast she started coughing.

    “Good thing I left you a bottle of water, you greedy little imp.”

    He pressed his face against the glass and laughed as the pair remounted and road away.

    “Glad the kid can read the sign,” he said. “Free treats for kids and dogs. If you’re quiet between the hours of three-thirty and four-thirty, there will be more tomorrow.”

  2. Mr. Pritchard downloaded photographs of furry little dogs from the internet. He pasted the images into fliers that he printed from his computer: “Missing Dog! Our beloved pet has disappeared. Call this number for a reward.” The phone number belonged to a plumber who had once overbilled him.

    He posted the fliers around the neighborhood late on Sunday night. Next day, he hand-painted a sign that he hung from his garden gate: “Animal Furs Wanted. Top Dollar Paid.”

    Mr. Pritchard donned his old beaver-skin hat, and settled into the rocking chair on his porch. When Becky Vogel cycled past, with Yappers barking, he rocked in his chair, grinned, and scraped the dirt from his fingernails with a Bowie knife.

    On Tuesday, a police car visited his house and the officer inquired about the sign. Mr. Pritchard replied that an old fellow like him had to supplement his income, and buying used fur coats wasn’t against the law.

    Becky cycled past as Mr. Pritchard waved the officer goodbye. He gave her his thinnest smile.

    She didn’t appear at his house on Wednesday afternoon, so he grabbed a beer and settled in front of the television to watch his favorite episodes of Seinfeld.

    The doorbell interrupted him. He stepped outside and found Becky holding her dog at arm’s length. Yappers yapped and yapped and yapped.

    “How much will you gimme for him, mister?”

  3. ***FINALIST***

    He knew that Becky always gave Yappers a treat before the bike ride. So Monday morning he purchased Yappers favorite from the pet store. Taking the box home, he hid a large piece of bubble gum in the center of each treat and left them on Becky’s porch along with a handwritten note.
    Peeking from his living room window, he saw her open the note explaining the treats were a prize for cutest dog in the neighborhood. The next day, Mr. Pritchard lay down to nap. Only this time, he heard no barking. Becky had been generous with Yappers that afternoon, giving him thirty treats. Each time he tried to bark, a big bubble came out of his mouth.
    It’s still not clear what happened to Yappers or Becky that day. Some say they simply floated away, while others a more sinister end. And as far as Mr. Pritchard? Every afternoon he still takes a nap at three-thirty, but not before enjoying a piece of bubble gum.

  4. ***FINALIST***

    They’d blame the Henderson boy again. They always do. ‘Neighborhood hooligan’, they call him. Whole suburb of spoiled brats, never seen anything more dangerous that a kid with a bad haircut and a leather jacket. Nothing wrong with that boy the Marines can’t sort out. Know they did wonders for me.

    My First Sergeant back in ‘Nam was a crusty old thing. No, not old, ancient, like the mountains. Old before you existed, old when you meet them, still old after you’re dead. He’d tell us stories, the kind that start with ‘back when I was young’ and ended with something horrible happening. Sarge had a lot of those, but I guess that’s what happens when you celebrate your 19th birthday in Africa, with the desert sun and the Nazis taking turns trying to kill you.

    One of those stories was about Normandy. A hundred of those stories were about Normandy. It was kind of a big week for him. He was riding along in a jeep, bent over to re-lace his boot, and looked up just in time to see a steel cable the Germans strung between the trees catch the driver just below the chinstrap of his helmet.

    Becky’s bike doesn’t go nearly as fast as a jeep, and fishing line is no substitute for steel, but now I might be able to rest, and Little Miss Vogel can have her own story that starts with ‘back when I was young’.

  5. ***FINALIST***

    Mr. Pritchard drove west on Sunset Avenue to around 82nd Street, a rather seedy part of town. Strip joints, taverns, and pawn shops shared the street with used car lots. He parked his car just down the street from a shop called “Guns and Ammo.”

    The man behind the counter was not exactly the welcoming sales staff Mr. Pritchard might have enjoyed chatting with about firearms, hunting, and self protection. But then, Mr. Pritchard wasn’t here to swap stories. He knew exactly what he was looking for and was willing to pay cash money for it. The less talk the better. There was too much talk these days to suit Mr. Pritchard. All he wanted was a little quiet in the afternoon so he could nap.

    After parting with some of his hard earned pension money he walked out with just the item he intended to use. Just the thing to shut out the yapping so he could get napping.

    Mr. Pritchard got home early in the afternoon. Just in time to try out his new purchase from the gun store. He took his new possession out of its box and admired it, examining it from every angle. Little Miss Vogel and her Yappy friend would be coming down the street in a few minutes. Mr. Pritchard smiled as he placed the noise canceling head phones on and relaxed in his recliner.

  6. Old man Pritchard knew he had to work fast, and he was known for working fast in certain circles.

    The first time Pritchard took care of a problem with his tools was when he “fixed” the bike of a schmuck bullying his little high school buddy, Carmine. To show his appreciation, Carmine’s dad gave Pritchard a job in one of his businesses, where Pritchard used his talents to do to luxury cars what Carmine could never do to frogs in bio class.

    Over the years, Pritchard did many jobs for Carmine’s father, fixing cars, motorcycles, boats, airplanes and even an ultralight in his swift and certain way. The last was on a Grand Marquis owned by a business competitor of Carmine’s dad. That score was the cherry atop the retirement account sundae for the man known as The Mechanic. And, like after all other such jobs, Pritchard slept just fine.

    These days, the only time he couldn’t sleep was when that brat Becky would ride her two-wheeler past his window, her terrier in the bike basket yapping away, disturbing his 3:30 nap.

    Pritchard jumped from bed and tailed the little pain in the ass home, saw how she left her bike in the driveway and, with a few twists of his wrench on the axle, took care of his only problem in a life spent solving them.

    He wondered if tomorrow, when Becky rode past his window, if she’d notice the new metal planter basket he’d hang there.

  7. ***FINALIST***

    Old Mr. Pritchard lay in his bed listening to Yappers’ constant barking, a sly smile forming on his grizzled face. He finally had a plan to shut the annoying little dog’s mouth forever.

    The next day, he rooted through Becky’s garbage, careful not to leave any sign he’d been there. He found what he was searching for, an empty can of the dog’s favorite food. After showering, he went to the store to buy everything he’d need to carry out his mean mission.

    Finally, it was 3:30 PM but he wouldn’t nap today, either. It was time to cure the constant yapping. He went over to Becky’s house. Finding her door unlocked, he furtively moving toward the kitchen. Then he suddenly slipped in a piddle puddle that Yappers left. He moaned and tried to stand to no avail. He’d landed on his bad hip when he fell and was stuck in Becky’s hallway with the trappings of his dastardly deed. He’d soon be caught red-handed while wearing piddle pants. Oh, the indignity!

    The floor board creaked as Becky and Yappers walked across her porch after their bike ride. He quickly stuffed the arsenic in his pocket and held out Yappers’ favorite food as they came in the door.

    “I brought some food for Yappers,” he said lamely.

    Yappers licked Mr. Pritchard’s cheek, giving unconditional love to the angry old man. Mr. Pritchard’s heart swelled and he smiled for the first time since his wife had passed two years before.

  8. ***FINALIST***

    Mr. Pritchard decided to visit the facility on the edge of town. He shuffled up and down the dim corridors looking into all the sad anxious faces. Just as his legs were about to give out, he hobbled toward the last row of cages, finding just what he had been searching for. He spoke to the people at the front desk, filled out the papers and gave the required $25.
    “From now on everything will be different” he thought as he drove home elatedly with his new acquisition.
    Mr. Pritchard went through the next day with a spring in his step and a twinkle in his eye. He went for his morning walk, ate his oatmeal, read the paper, did his chores, had a tasty lunch and began feeling a bit sleepy. He next placed a bowl of water on the front porch, made sure the front gate was secure and whistled. He closed the front door behind him and went to bed. As he heard the fingernails-on-the-blackboard-barking get closer and closer, he opened one eye.
    The moment that bike got near the front gate, Thor placed his gigantic front paws over the top of the gate, thrust his massive slobbering head over and said “WOOF!!” Becky Vogel almost fell off her bike as Yappers crouched in the basket, trying to flatten himself at the bottom.
    Mr. Pritchard smiled and plumped his pillow. It was the last blessed time they ever heard from Yappers or Becky Vogel.

  9. ***FINALIST***

    Becky couldn’t cart her vile mutt around if she lost the basket to her bicycle. But it wouldn’t be enough to take the basket. He had to do something more, something that would make her change her mind about how she traveled with that mutt.

    Late at night through the cover of darkness he slipped through his neighbor’s yards, over hedgerow and fence, to sneak his way to Becky’s bike. It was there that he sliced through the wires of the basket, not all the way, but close, so very close. This would show her all right. When that mutt slipped through the bottom of the basket she would never ride with him on the bike again.


    Like clockwork, Mr. Pritchard had just fallen asleep but the yap yap yapping of that dog broke him out of his midday snooze. He rushed from the yard, through the house, and into his front yard, just as little Becky pedaled past his house. But that wasn’t all he found. Parked at the curb were three squad cars and uniformed officers with their pistols and riot shotguns pointed at his chest.

    Becky parked her bike and called to Mr. Pritchard. She pulled a camera and recorder out of the new basket on her bike and waved them at him. Without looking back she hopped back on her bike.

    The cops rushed Mr. Pritchard and knocked him to the ground. Becky giggled with glee as they slapped cuffs to his wrists.

  10. An evil grin crossed Mr. Pritchard’s face as a plan began to formulate in his mind. Mr. Pritchard recalled that his nephew had a pitbull named “Satan”. He was not sure why anyone would name their pet “Satan”, but he figured it had to do with the wickedness of the dog. He was not a dog person, but maybe he could borrow the dog for a week.

    He made arrangements with his nephew and picked up the devilish hound. After tweaking the chain, he found the perfect length to allow the dog to run in pursuit of his nemeses, Becky Vogel and her ear piercing rat dog. Like a bungee cord, the chain caught right at the end of the yard before any real damage could be done.

    Finally three-thirty had arrived. It was time to scare Becky and her dog out of Mr. Pritchard’s life forever. As Becky rode up the street with her dog barking like a nagging wife, Satan began to growl.

    “Starting tomorrow, I’ll be napping like a newborn baby.”, thought Mr. Pritchard.

    As Becky’s bike came within striking distance, Satan charged – barking according to plan.

    Becky froze terrified. As she looked over, she smiled. “I was wondering where you were today, Stan.”, she said. “Here’s your treat.”

    Stan’s tailed wagged as Becky tossed him his treat.

    “Hi Mr. Pritchard. I see you are watching my Stan today. Make sure he doesn’t interrupt your nap.”, Becky said cheerfully as she pedaled down the street.

  11. Losing Clara dulled his interest in inventing, but without an afternoon nap, Mr. Pritchard feared becoming a doddering old fool waiting for God. The brat must be stopped! He hitched his trousers and grumbled to his workshop. Equipment was dusty, calculations out of date with the whiz-bang algorithms online, but the years evaporated as he tinkered through the night, emerging the next morning in giddy, sticky-eyed success.

    He set up the device and steeled himself to wait. Then, in the distance, came the flap-flapping of gewgaws in Becky Vogel’s bicycle spokes. And the blasted dog.

    He punched the button. Sparks danced from the transformer to the pavement. Debris swirled. A tiny dancer at first, the dervish picked up speed. Mr. Pritchard’s eyes sparkled, fist pumping the air. “Bigger!” He pushed the oscillator to its limit. The wind whipped the fabric covering his skinny legs; he had to grab the porch railing to stay upright.

    Clara would be so proud.

    Yap, yap, yap. Becky click-clacked closer. Then screeched as the bicycle broke the bounds of gravity. “Ha! There’s a bit of Kansas for ya! And your little dog, too!”

    The effect collapsed, too soon, and the crunch-yap-wail of girl, bicycle, and dog smacking the ground tightened his gut. He rushed over. Becky, unhurt, scrunched her face and kicked him. “Mean old man!” But Yappers wasn’t moving. He touched the small chest as life left it. The dog’s dying eyes knew him, love and disbelief in their fading light.

    He gulped. “Clara?”

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